Tuesday, 26 April 2011

"Mixed Nutz" - Rant of the Week ahead

Something lately has come up that really has turned this world in on its head - where not even a top animation writer is allowed to have a little fun like it was 1992 again...

Tom Ruegger has been posting on his blog various cartoon shows that he pitched but were never followed through nor developed - mainly involving characters from Warner Bros or Hanna-Barbera. His latest few posts have really struck a chord with me - "Mixed Nutz" was an opportunity to bring both Warner Bros and Hanna-Barbera characters into the same multiverse, and the sad fact was everyone loved it.....until a new guy came in and killed the idea before it could even start.

And this was in 2008 - where the same company, Warner Bros, are planning several CGI movies involving Tom and Jerry, Pepe le Pew and Marvin the Martian just because of one person who had ideas of his own.

It's a sad, sad world right now where someone turns down a wonderfully hopeful idea such as this, that every other animation fan can only dream of accomplishing in mere fan fiction/comics, for other ideas of his own for these characters. And by "these characters", I mean the Warner Bros / Looney Tunes cast. Never mind that, aside from an uninteresting CGI feature-length movie, nothing new has EVER been attempted with the Hanna-Barbera characters for yoinks already - Hanna-Barbera characters who still have a wider fanbase outside of the US market, including the UK, Spain, Italy and every other European country that has digital television.

All I can truly hope for, Sam Register, is that if "The Looney Tunes Show" doesn't succeed, don't come crying to us...!

Now you may think I'm overreacting here, but I think that the camel's back truly has been broken. Speaking as someone who is permanently nostalgic, always respecting and learning from the past to make my own future, Tom Ruegger is a talented, fun chap who has been in the media biz since the late 1970's with as much knowledge and respect for all the iconic cartoon characters as he does with his own kids. And the fact that creativity and the chance to have fun with such classic characters, without resorting to unnecessary clinched movies or cut-and-paste show ideas, is despicable. In fact, it's making me wonder whether it's worth trying to get into the media myself if life's just going to be one big drop after another...

For now, at least, here's a LT comic story that preceded Tom's wonderful pitch by about eight years - Tazzy-Doo!

Them's my two cents - spend them wisely.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

"Mater's Tall Tales" - DVD Review

Many folks are biased when it comes to Pixar's Cars movie - claiming how it may not have been the strongest movie they've made as well as an excuse to merchandise literally every character, background and main, present in the movie - but truthfully I adore Cars as I do with all of Pixar's movies. Maybe it's because of the imagination gone into creating a total automobile universe, or maybe it's because I've always had a fondness for anthropomorphic vehicles (yes, which all started out from a certain blue locomotive tank engine by a certain Reverend ;-) ).

And with Cars 2 coming out in the UK this coming July, I thought I'd get back into the Cars groove and buy up a DVD I had long since prayed for since seeing these on Disney Channel - Mater's Tall Tales.
This DVD is, long story short, a series of short stories. Actually, a wonderful chance for the Pixar team to let loose their imaginations and explore further into the Cars universe, with firm favourite Mater the Tow Truck. The simple premise begins with Mater telling Lightening McQueen of various "jobs" he did in the past - ranging from a Fire Truck (Rescue Squad Mater), a Bulldozer Fighter (El Materdor), a Monster Truck (Monster Truck Mater) and a Daredevil (Mater the Greater). And just when the tale gets really exciting or life-threatening, McQueen is suddenly sucked into the story!
Sure, it's got a basic formula, but each tale is told so uniquely the similarities are barely noticeable. Especially since each tale gives a different "reason" for how Mater lost certain parts also while delivering plenty of laughs along the way - with thanks to VA and "real life" Mater, Larry the Cable Guy, who adds the friendly and likeable charm to the rusty old tow truck.

The best way to describe Mater, as the Pixar guys themselves said, is that "Mater isn't a liar - he's a storyteller". And if that doesn't say "charm", I dunno what does!
The DVD is surprisingly short, running just under 40 minutes - since most of the episodes are no more than five minutes long themselves - but I always believe in most cases that short is most definitely sweet. The format and theme/s keeps in-line of the theatrical shorts of the past - even silly shorts like Heavy Metal Mater and Unidentified Flying Mater have a timeless sort of feel to them in a strange way. I dunno why, but they do! And it's a great world for the Pixar team to explore through such a wonderfully fun character.

My personal favourites have to be El Materdor and new short Mater Private Eye - the latter probably because it's a lovely throwback to the old Private Eye Film Noir movies "back in the day" with all the usual clichés thrown in. That and the Gangster, 1920's setting reminds me so much of TUGS... *le sigh*
DVD Extras are plenty here. These include:

 - All-New Mater Intros for each short.
 - Unmade Tales: several storyboarded Cars shorts that weren't completed or retooled as another. I especially would love to see Car-nival and Backwards to the Forwards looked upon again someday, and hopefully finished!
- Mater Bumper-To-Bumper: a history to how Mater came to be and hearing the Pixar team's thoughts on the character as a whole =)
 - McQueen has no hands: a truly hilarious segment where the Pixar story guys try to work out how the Cars characters try to interact without hands...!

So if you're a lifelong Pixar fan and looking for a half-hour chuckle, I recommend this DVD. Least it'll tide you over until the release of Cars 2! =D

Friday, 22 April 2011


Another "spliced" animal - Cuttlefish + Fox =)

Thursday, 21 April 2011


During a particularly noisy weekend at home, I spent a huge chunk of my Sunday at the local park - where I doodled whatever came to mind. This was one of them =)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Doodles from March - Punkey

A sort of cross between a Panda and a Monkey - these were a few test doodles until I was happy with whichever to colour. Except that troll-thing near the bottom-left. That was warm-up practice...

And here is the final result! Not perfect but fun =)

The Mystery of The Mystery of the Lost Chord

For as long as I can remember, Danger Mouse was one of my firm favourites growing up with, all thanks to the creative forces that were Cosgrove Hall when their humour was given total freedom back in the days of quality kids TV. So you can imagine how delighted I was when, several years back, I nabbed the DM Box Collection for his 25th anniversary, containing every episode made and more...!

One of these grand Easter Eggs is the original Danger Mouse pilot entitled "The Mystery of the Lost Chord", which, once the series was picked up, would later be reanimated and edited into "Who Stole the Bagpipes?" What make the pilot a total mystery is the lack of credits, meaning no one - including the CH crew I assume - can remember who did what. Now animation-wise I'm not so sure of, but I've a good guess who'd be in charge of VAs and writing:

- First off, DM sounded more of a James Bond-type than what he is today while Penfold sounds more Welsh than squeaky. Best bet would be that Edward Kelsey (Colonel K and Greenback) was trialled as DM while Brian Trueman (Stiletto) originally voiced Penfold before David Jason and Terry Scott were first thought of. The lack of "Isambard" the Narrator is a dead giveaway that David wasn't first brought into light.

- Next comes the writing. If one recalls the first few DM Seasons, the earliest episodes (which originally aired as four-parter cliffhangers) the writing team consisted of Brian Trueman and Mike Harding, the latter who was also responsible for the show's music, theme tune included. The usual silly humour - such as Penfold's saxaphone playing, Colonel K's ramblings and the first encounter with McNasty regarding the Loch Ness Monster/Missing Bagpipes - seem to ring true(man) of Brian's pen.

All in all, for a pilot much of Danger Mouse was still there if a little different as all pilots usually are (Note how Baron Greenback was originally named Baron Greenteeth here!). As for what the original credits hold for who did what, we can never be sure aside from the actual writers/actors themselves. But it's fun to try and guess anyway...

And here's the actual pilot for your enjoyment. Make your own decisions, folks!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Zazzle Reminder!

If you're in need for something different - a new key chain, a humour-related postcard or simply looking for a gift for a friend - please feel free to check out my Zazzle store where I have a nice little lot going for sale at reasonable prices, and purchase whatever grabs your fancy!

Thank you! =)

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Ant and Aardvark - Tiger, Tiger

Egads, a new Blog Post?!!

Don't get too excited, folks...I know how long it's been.

You may remember how much I've praised the new Ant and Aardvark series, led by John Over and his team, and this is another reason. Whoever voices the tiger in this episode is certainly a dead ringer for Marvin Miller's interpretation from the original series (although technically, tigers don't often occur aardvarks in their part of the world so far as I know...but it IS a cartoon, so - meh :P )

Plus I adore the dialogue in the new A&A episode: it feels so natural and fun, true to each character - and you can tell that Kel Mitchell (Ant) is having a blast with improvs here and there =D

So for your enjoyment: the old with the new to compare and enjoy!